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Provisions Series: The Workman's Friend - The Bruery

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Provisions Series: The Workman's FriendProvisions Series: The Workman's Friend

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84 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 26
Gots: 28 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: womencantsail on 11-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

The Workman's Friend is our take on a classic imperial porter. One of the more classic and "to style" beers we've brewed around here, it's a rich and creamy strong porter with a big malty backbone. Roasty and with a hint of smoke in the finish, a fantastic beer to get you through the foggy months of winter.

ABV: 8%, IBU: 20, SRM: 50, Release: One time only
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by Kegatron:
Photo of Kegatron
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a few glasses. Pours black with a smooth mocha head. Rich and sudsy look. Smells of citrus, dark fruit, roast cocoa and touch of tobacco. Tastes of dark fruit, ripe citrus, cocoa powder and burnt roast. Pretty tight profile. Fuller bodied with a sharp and crisp feel. Barely any alcohol. Great Porter here with full flavors and a smooth body for the higher ABV. Great dark beer fix.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt as well as some nice meaty smoke notes. The flavor is more of the same. The meaty BBQ notes dominate the flavor but there are also components of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee in the background. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice, complex smoke beer that didn't disappoint.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer from the Bruery that hides the alcohol well.

Pours a dark black with  a dark tan head. Decent lacing.

Aroma is sort of sweet with roasted grains. Can't put my finger on why this beer smells so great compared to some other imperial porters I have had.

Taste is solid. Roasty and smooth. Slightly sweet with a dry finish. Tasty.

Mouthfeel I think could use a bit more body but it's not bad. Great carb.

Overall another awesome provision series beer. Glad I got some on tap at the provisions store and grabbed some bottles.

Photo of nickd717
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A couple tasters at Bruery Provisions.

Pours very dark brown in color, but slightly translucent, with a small light tan head leaving nice swirls on the beer.

The aroma is full and excellent, somewhat smoky with well-balanced roast, dark chocolate, and coffee.

The flavor also has a good smokiness to it, yet more subtle than something like Alaskan Smoked Porter. Rather ashy, dry, and bitter, with charcoal-like roast, black coffee, and semisweet chocolate. Alcohol is nowhere to be found despite the higher ABV.

Medium-full bodied with a smooth and silky mouthfeel, and a finish that sticks with you.

An excellent offering from The Bruery. I look forward to the bottle release.

Photo of Bung
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml. Blackish brown pour, a ton of tan head. Normal for the Bruery brews I've had and quite annoying to me. No matter how careful I pour, this overly large head is present, like many "Belgian" inspired brews. Annoys the crap out of me, but I'm probably in the minority here.
Obviously, this retains and sticks quite well.

Earthy aroma, toasted malt, some chocolate, chocolate covered banana.

Taste is some malt and molasses and a bunch of fruit, especially banana. Some pumpkin ale spices? The spiciness catches me by surprise and I'm not sure if its good or bad. Cocoa, some red fruits and more of a plantain like flavor in the finish.

The carbonation is gentle, but there is more than I would prefer. Keeps it just a bit too active in the mouth, and to me keeps the body a bit thinner than it should be. Just a slight warming and goes down easy aside from the carb.

The only dark brew done with Belgian strains I've really enjoyed is Black Ops. I just don't enjoy the amount of fruit they empart.
Expecting more as I always seem to be with the Bruery, I'll leave it at that.

Photo of sergeantstogie
4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BLUF: This is easily the most perfect porter I've had.

Almost black with hints of brown and ruby creeping in around the edges. The smell is very subdued. Only a hint at what goodness is waiting for you. I had no idea it was smoked but after the first couple of sips it goes from being strong to a very well crafted complement to the rest of the malt backbone. It tastes like smoked chocolate with a slight twang. Perfect. If the smell was stronger this would have been damn close to all 5's. It says to enjoy in the winter but this is the hottest day I've had this year and it is absolutely perfect as I am prepping my grill for steaks. Beers this good need to be year round.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to StarRaptor for plucking this off my wants!

Pours black as night. Looks very stout-like. Mocha colored head of about a finger adorns, leaving nice lacing.

Aroma is ripe with dark and milk chocolate, BIG roast character, also an espresso quality with some faint smokiness in the back.

Initially, there's nice espresso flavors up front, with a rolling chocolate note and big roasted malts. Slight smokiness and dry cocoa powdery finish. Surprisingly thought for me, as it warmed up, the flavors became a bit dull from freshly poured.

Medium to full in body, definitely creamy. Carbonation is good. Drinkability is great.

Overall, very good. I think this will stay on my wants. More chances at trying this is a good thing.

Photo of jmarsh123
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black and opaque with a finger of tan head that recedes immediately.

Smells of some semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malt with a little touch of smoke. Some dark fruit as well. Something weirdly sweet (maybe banana) I can't quite put my finger on.

Starts off with a bit of roasted malt. Notes of leather, molasses stone fruits and licorice come through. A bit of smoke comes out towards he end, increasing as it warms. The weird banana flavor is there again.

Creamy mouthfeel with maybe a touch too much carbonation.

Overall not bad. There are some good flavors here, but he weird banana like flavor knocks it down a few pegs for me. Still pretty easy drinking. Roasted malts are featured heavily and sweetness is kept in check.

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Bruery Provisions. Black, almost opaque. A thin but lasting head tops the beer.

Great malt-forward aroma. Dark chocolate, coffee with milk, a little charred malt and smoke. Nutty too, with a note of toasted bread.

Opens with a smooth roasty malt character, flavors of toasted whole grain bread and nuts right behind. Creamy mouthfeel; also has a bit of a milky flavor to it. Medium-full body. Little bit of sweetness, very well balanced. This is a delicious porter, I could drink a lot of this.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mlaroche for this one.

Pours a dark brown, practically pitch black color, good sized tan head, fades at a moderate rate with only a few spots of lacing.

Smell is primarily roasted malt, picking up a bit of smoke and tobacco aroma, very earthy with a dash of wood, the smokiness actually becomes more prominent as it warms.

Taste starts out with a roasty toasty malt flavor, bit of bittersweet chocolate, smoky tobacco seeks in and lingers just long enough and leaves before it becomes a distraction, a nice nuttiness in the aftertaste, carbonation is moderate yet soft and lends a decent creaminess to it.

Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a wide stemmed DFH snifter. Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from our most recent trade!

A: Pours dark brown, just a shade lighter than pure black. A wonderful, whipped mocha meringue head grows to about three fingers thick before falling off to a thin skim with a smooth, unbroken collar. Sadly, hardly any lace was left behind.

S: The first thing I picked up from this vanilla. Fresh vanilla. Fresh vanilla drizzled with fudge and mixed with dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Some heavy roast is present, as well.

T: Tons of fudge, espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, brownies, scorched malt, molassas, dark fruit, and a bit of piney hops.

M: Pretty damn near perfect. Smooth and full at first but then the door swings the other way and it gains a bunch of dry roast, spicy hops, sweet booze drenched raisins, fruity tang, and bitter coffee. Finishes with the full compliment of sweet, sticky, dry, and spicy, with loads of prickle. Excellent.

D: Fantastic! The Bruery needs something like this in their year-round portfolio...or at least a (semi) seasonal that isn't "for sale in CA only". C'mon, guys!

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for sharing this one.

A - Dark brown, almost black beer with a tan head that left some moderate lacing on the sides.

S - Nice roasted malt malts with a little bit of sweetness, slight notes of sourness make me think lactic in nature.

T - Taste is in line with the smell. Roasted malts, slightly sweet, little bit of coffee, and just a tiny bit bitter.

M - Medium bodied, creamy, moderate to low carbonation.

O - I found this beer solid and really enjoyed it. Good flavor and it's pretty spot-on for the style. Would gladly drink this again.

Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Bruery -bal tasting

A: The pour is a nearly black with a finger or two worth of brown head.

S: A ton of roasted malts to the nose and a slight smokiness. Lots of smooth, milk chocolate notes as well and perhaps a bit of coffee as well.

T: The roasted character comes through strongest at the start of the sip. But as this beer sits on the tongue and warms in the glass, the sweet chocolate really shines. Some hints of vanilla and not quite as much smoke as present on the nose.

M: The body is medium with a smooth and creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

D: This is definitely a step in a different direction for the Bruery. Nothing Belgian about this beer at all. I liked it quite a bit.

Photo of FosterJM
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

176th review on BA
on tap at RS party

App- Poured a nice light chocolate brown with a few wisps of head on the glass.

Smell- Very nice smells off of a small pour, coffee, roasty malt and a bit of smoke woft up.

Taste- A very good porter that clings to your mouth and leaves flavor trails all over. The chocolate comes through nicely and the other flavors pair well with it.

Mouth- Medium bodied that has a medium carbonation level. Was a bit sticky. Very nice.

Drink- A different direction from the guys at the Bruery. I liked it alot for a porter.

Photo of beagle75
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black color with less than one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Husky roasted malt, coffee grounds, heavy cream, slight woodsmoke and toffee.

T: Begins by tasting strongly of coffee, dark-roasted and astringent, and faint dark fruit. In the middle the intensity of the coffee recedes somewhat, leaving just briny cardboard on the palate, before the moderately bitter finish sets in with flavors of charcoal and snappy black pepper. Flavors remain quite dry throughout, never allowing even a hint of sweetness.

M: Medium viscosity, initially creamy on the palate but finishing with an acidic burn in the throat. Carbonation is low.

D: Think twice before opening a bottle for yourself--this is one of those beers best enjoyed (or tolerated) in smaller quantities. The effect of the acidity that burns the back of the throat grows over time, fatiguing the palate. The dryness here keeps this beer from tasting like dessert, instead welcoming the accompaniment of rich, savory flavors.

This may be a first--released around the same time as Karl Stauss' Parrot in a Palm Tree holiday porter, this offering from the Bruery is found lacking compared to the intriguing Parrot. Perhaps the Workman's Friend is relegated to "Provisions Series" B-Side status for a reason...

Photo of berebrando
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

the bottle doesn't give a great deal of insight into what this beer will taste like. the workman's friend, an imperial porter, it says. 8% alcohol by volume for a richer life, it says.

this beer pours deep black with a massive tan head. The medium-sized bubbles dissipate pretty quickly, leaving a thin layer of light brown where the head mingles with the beer. the first thing i smell is chocolate, complemented by bananas and severely roasted malts.

taste is deep, dark roasted malts and heavy chocolate malts. i taste some cherries and lightly sour apples. most surprising of all, this beer is thick and viscous. this is a very thick beer, and i like it! great beer, i'd recommend it to all. is it drinkable, maybe not as drinkable as a session ale - but it's not like i'd ever think of dumping it down the drain!

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.1.13

A - Pours a dark brown with a foamy and active brown head that fades fast.

S - Nutty, roasted malt, smokey.

T - Smoke, nutty and roasted malts.

D - Decent carbonation with a lighter than expected body.

O - Lots of roasted and smokey layers.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Body is very dark brown. Poured into a tulip glass, produces a half inch of tan head that dissipates quickly to a thickish ring, producing some lacing.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, and sourness.

Tastes huge of very roasted malt which also gives the beer its sourness. There is also some chocolate and sour dried fruit, but all that is balanced partly by a chocolate syrup sweetness.

Body is medium and carbonation is low, giving this a somewhat flattish mouthfeel.

A very clean porter and relatively light in body. The 8% ABV is subservient to the huge flavor of this beer and not noticeable.

Photo of jminsc76
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, pours a reddish coffee head atop an impenetrable body of blackness. The head is large upon the initial pour, dies down quickly, nary to return upon agitation.

Aromas include some espresso, either carob or cocoa, with slight quantities of raspberry (I tend to smell raspberry waay too much in stouts and porters; I need to learn to identify what that particular smell is). Doesn't penetrate the nostrils with any force, but it's good.

A broad spectrum of flavors, including bitter coffee/espresso throughout, chocolate, and even a slight smores quality right near the finish. Ends with a substantial coffee roast, and mmmm, hits the mark so well. Almost like an Imperial Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Perhaps a hint of rye as well? Whatever it is, adds to the nuance quite well.

Mouthfeel is highly ebullient, nice and thick upon swishing.

Overall, the Workman's Friend is a winner. Ultimately a roast bomb, with hints of rye and vanilla from the oak adding to the complexity. I could drink a couple more of these with ease.

Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go to Kegatron for sharing this one during a recent gathering. Poured into a Bruery snifter, the brew appears black in color with a finger of mocha head sitting atop. Some stringy to patchy lace sticks to the glass and the cap displays solid retaining powers. A swirl effortlessly revives a finger back to the surface. When held to the light, some lighter brown shines through the edges.

The smell is roast with a fruity depth like raisins mixing with notes of chocolate from the roast of the grain. There is a mild citrus hop component also present that blends into a bit of floral to fruity alcohol ester.

The taste is roasted from the grain that inmediately transitions to some dark fruit elements like raisin and/or plum. Chocolate grain is present throughout with a mild note of alcohol tang before transitioning back to a bit of cocoa quality. Faint notes of citrus hops are still present mixing with some vinous alcohol. The favors mingle together nicely.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is smooth and enjoyable and a bit different considering the advertisement as an imperial porter. Obviously stronger than your staple porter but not quite into the stout realm of roast. It was a pleasant experience with my only gripe being a bit of mineral inclusion. If you get a chance, this is worth checking out. Thanks again Heath!

Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the tap at the 2011 Reserve Society party.

Dark, dark, dark brown. No highlights. A tiny, brown sugar-colored head becomes a thick, lingering ring.

In the nose: tons of coffee, smoky bacon and buttered toast. Great porter aroma.

The flavor: coffee again, heavily roasted. Smoky pork roast and cocoa nibs also emerge before a slightly dry finish. Very nice balance.

Prickly medium carbonation amidst a medium-light body that's smooth and rather crisp, for a porter.

When the time came to scramble for beer pours before the Reserve Society party ended, I found myself going back to this one again and again, and not just because it had the shortest line. The Workman's Friend has great porter flavors and is fairly perfect in style.

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black with a big creamy light brown head.

S: Dark chocolate and cocoa with molasses and a faint smokiness that's redolent of beechwood and bacon. This smells damn good. Malt is moderately roasted and there's a dash of earth with nuts. A touch of coffee is evident.

T: Rich dark chocolate with a lower moderate earthy bitterness. The chocolate profile is stellar, fading in and out the entire time. Beechwood smoke is light, blending with a hint of tobacco. There's a lower moderate roasted malt profile. Finishes rich and complex with a little nuttiness and coffee.

M: Lower full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and chewy.

Overall: This is really impressive. This is my last bottle and it's been sitting in my fridge for quite a while, but I have no idea why it took me so long to open it. This is one of the best Provisions Series beers I've had, if not the best. They should remake this.

Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The blackest of brown. Tan head stays for some time, levels off to disk. Not much cling lace.

S - Coffee is the strongest note. Roasted malt would be second.

T - Taste matches smell.

M - Not as full bodied as I had hoped. A little thin and tinny on finish.

D - One is more than enough.

Photo of chugalug06
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery tulip glass, yes I love mine

A - Nicely carbonation head rise. Head is nice light brown foamy bubbles. Brew is very thin and roasty brown. Looks more like a brown then a Iporter. no lacing.

S - Heavy smoke, but not overwhelming, it's done right. Decent amount of chocolate and coffee too. Well caramelized. Hops have long faded, but sweetness still remains. Slightly watery smell.

T/M - Very smooth and silky, even with the smokeyness. Very earthy and well rounded. Malt heavy, but not sugary. Just a touch too much carbonation, but zero heat. Body is a bit thin too, for style.

O - Awesome brew! Slightly rough, but mostly amazing!!! I'm not a fan of smoked brews, but this one is superb! Highly recommended! A fantastic extra from an awesome trader! Great 1st trade, cheers!

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured almost pitch black with brown highlights and had a half finger of bubbly lacing but left some good frothy lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was pretty roasty and smoky with chocolate notes and mild coffee nutty character. The taste was also big on the roastiness with chocolate nutty accents and smokey notes which added to the overall flavor. There was however a touch of underlying coffee to it on the backend. The brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a roasty, milky, chocolatey, smoky, creamy finish. It drank really good and hope to have the bottle version to the compare the overall characteristics. A real solid porter coming from the belgian forward bruery.

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Provisions Series: The Workman's Friend from The Bruery
91 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.